Last weekend we celebrated Mother’s Day by having a real Mother of a blow-out. We began with our weekly Box Art Brawl poll pitting EarthBound against Mother 2. We then took a look back at memories old and new of both EarthBound and the legendary (and legendarily sobering) Mother 3.
And then we followed up with the centrepiece of our celebrations — a real labour of love from one of NL’s resident senior video producers, Mr Zion Grassl. His hour-long video — ‘The MOTHER We Share: Our EarthBound Story’ — featured a whole bunch of luminary EarthBound fans (including one Toby Fox, creator of Undertale) in an exploration of why the series means so much to many gamers. It’s really something and definitely worth checking out if you haven’t already.
And after that, we posed a final question and asked your opinion via a series of polls: Does Nintendo really need to release Mother 3 in the West anymore?
Despite our desire to see as many players as possible have easy access to the 2006 Japan-only GBA release, given the relative ease with which fans can play the phenomenal fan translation these days (and the term ‘fan translation’ belies the A-grade professional quality of Clyde Mandelin and co.’s work), we wondered if perhaps everybody who wanted to play Mother 3 already had, making Nintendo releasing the game somewhat superfluous at this point.
Well, it seems there is still a good number of Mother fans that have held off from diving into the third game! Even for people who have played the non-official localisation, the majority would play through again to experience Nintendo’s take on the final chapter of Shigesato Itoi’s trilogy.
And this got us thinking: What would an official release of the game even be called in the West?
The original Mother for Famicom saw its first Western release on Wii U carrying the title EarthBound Beginnings. Mother 3’s reputation precedes it, but that Nintendo wouldn’t draw an implicit link to the series’ overseas moniker is incredibly unlikely.
So, hypothetically, what would it be called? Well, here are a handful of options we thought up — look out for a poll at the end and let us know which one you prefer. Alternatively, give us more and better options in the comments! Let’s start with something simple…
Most people suggest playing EarthBound Beginnings only once you’ve started with the SNES sequel, as it essentially feels like an 8-bit ‘sketch’ of an idea that would reach its full potential in 16-bit form.
So if we treat Mother 1 as a prequel-esque tale, perhaps branding EarthBound’s sequel EarthBound 2 would be the best way to go.
EarthBound 2: Mother 3
Alternatively, you could aim for the best of both worlds and jam ‘Mother 3’ in there as well. Remember all the Super Mario Bros. GBA remakes and their awfully convoluted titles? Super Mario Bros. Advance 4: Super Mario Bros. 3, for example. We bet they’re glad they didn’t have to say that aloud every time it’s mentioned on the Nintendo Power podcast, amirite?
EarthBound 2: Mother 3 would be positively elegant by comparison.
When in doubt, make an ‘E’ a ‘3’. We’re certain that must be a marketing adage. (Or maybe it’s When in doubt, make an ‘A’ a ‘4’?)
Regardless, it’s a relatively common — if unimaginative — tactic when it comes to threequels to invert the ‘E’ so it becomes a ‘3’. Unfortunately, in this case it makes the game’s title look like BarthBound.
Perhaps there’s a better way…
Maybe that’s just us, but Earth3ound is certainly an improvement, with the rounded rear end of the ‘3’ aligning more pleasingly with the curves of a ‘B’.
There’s an argument that keeping things simple would be best. The fans know Mother 3 — they’ve been crying out for it for long enough! — so why mess with it?
Well, we’d argue that the whole point of releasing the game in the West is to broaden the game’s horizons beyond the super passionate fan base who already know the series inside out. Using the Japanese name — however beautifully tied it is to the narrative of this particular entry and the series at large — will undoubtedly confuse new players who might think they need to play Mother 1 and 2 first.
Which they can! But there’s a layer of obfuscation for the casual gamer here that Nintendo, understandably, would probably want to avoid.
Everything that has a beginning has an ending, right? And let’s face it, Mother 3 has more than its fair share of ‘endings’. If you’re looking to tie it plainly and sensibly with the existing localised entries and put a nice bow on the trilogy, EarthBound Endings isn’t a bad option.
Or Earth3ound Endings, if you simply have to wedge a number in there.
This one omits ‘EarthBound’ and thus doesn’t make the game’s link to previous titles explicit… but we still like it. Who can resist a bit of wordplay, eh? Anyone who has seen any of our article taglines knows we’re suckers for this sort of thing.
This particular example is light on the innuendo, but you can’t have everything. It’s a Mother game. It’s undeniably grand. GrandMother, coming soon to a Switch near you.
We can dig it.
Is this regional mashup too on-the-nose?
Is this regional mashup too… rubbish?
Mother 3: Finally
Finally we got it!
Okay, this is a wildcard and a little bit silly, but as we mentioned above, finality is a heavy theme in Mother 3 so this in-joke wouldn’t be the most inappropriate title, would it?
Those are our ideas. Let us know below which one you think is best, and obviously feel free to unleash your marketing prowess in the comments with further suggestions. Mother!